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On this page you'll find answers to the following questions: 

How do I Develop a Good Research Question?

Once you know more about your topic and have done a bit of research, you can start to narrow your topic into a research question. You may need to adjust your research question as you continue doing research and learning more about your topic.

In general, a good research question should be: 

  • Not too broad and not too narrow. If whole books have been written on a topic, it's too broad. If it's too narrow, you won't be able to write an entire paper on it. 
  • Not a yes/no question. 
  • The question should invite analysis of an issue rather than merely description
  • Researchable. There should be books or articles written that address different aspects of your question. 

In forming your research question, consider the following:

  • Who is the research about (people with a certain condition, athletes, elderly women)?
  • What is your research about? 
  • Where (this could be a geographical place, or a setting such as long term care) 

What are PICO Research Questions?

For some RADP assignments, you will come up with research questions using the PICO formula. PICO is explained in the table below. 





Patient or population Intervention or treatment Comparison or control Outcome
Think about how you would describe the patient group. Think about age, sex, or specific characteristics. What is the main intervention, management strategy, or diagnostic test that you are interested in? Is there an alternative strategy or intervention you could use as a comparison group? What are the hoped for outcomes or effects of the intervention? 

PICO Research Question Example

There are numerous templates you can use to help yourself come up with a PICO research question. Here are a couple of examples you can consider using when coming up with a research question: 

  • In [population], what is the effect of [intervention] on [outcome] compared with [comparison]? 
  • For [population/patient], does the use of [intervention] reduce the future risk of [outcome] compared with [comparison/control]?
  • How does [intervention] compare to [comparison] in [outcome] among [population]? 

Imagine your research question was "How does the use of exercise compare to medication in reducing anxiety in elderly women?" For this research question, the PICO elements are: 

  • P: elderly women
  • I: exercise
  • C: medication
  • O: reducing anxiety